by John Boch
President, Guns Save Life
Originally published in the December 2011 issue of GunNews.
As 2011 winds down, I’d like to thank each of our members for their contributions, both large and small, to our fine organization and its mission advocating for civil rights for all Americans.
It’s been a wonderful year for our Guns Save Life family – and speaking of family, ours has grown! GSL is much stronger today as we’ve grown an impressive 33% this last year.
Most notably, we came closer than ever in recent memory to gaining right-to-carry for Illinois, and much of that success is thanks to our membership.
Our political adversaries were forced to spend precious scarce financial resources to lobby against us this year. They also abandoned their usual shopping list of proposals to curtail civil rights. Gun haters have long told Illinois residents, “just trade your liberty for security” and accept additional gun regulations and crime will decline.
Guns Save Life has made slow, but steady progress pushing back against that fallacy, educating and communicating with those who aren’t familiar with the benefits of gun ownership and right-to-carry. It seems common sense to us, but some folks mistakenly believe the big-city biases against guns.
Our members and our allies at the Illinois State Rifle Association, the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation are making great progress bringing gun rights to all law-abiding Illinois residents. If you doubt the need, just ask Chicago residents besieged by violent crime committed with guns which are off-limits to the law-abiding.
Also at the state-level, Guns Save Life members turned out in droves for the tremendously successful IGOLD event: Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day. Thousands of Illinoisans now turn out for what has become an annual event, saturating the State Capitol with gun owners telling our elected officials “no more gun restrictions” and “we want right-to-carry, NOW!”.
Locally, I’m especially proud of our members who have stepped up to help a struggling local gun club reopen their rifle and pistol range and build their membership six fold or more, putting them on solid footing for years to come.
Our members have also given generously again this year towards a new indoor junior training facility nearby. This facility, when complete in 2012, has the potential for becoming a regional Olympic-level training facility for junior shooters – and Guns Save Life’s members have played a significant role in its funding.
GunNews, our humble little monthly journal, garnered huge publicity this spring with our use of powerful Oleg Volk imagery equating gun ownership with freedom and security and disarmament with oppression and genocide.
GunNews continues to be well-read among a who’s who of power circles in politics, military and industry. Not bad for a grassroots periodical from fly-over country neither created by a publishing house nor printed in full color on glossy stock.
Our members have also aggressively financially supported and volunteered at various youth shooting events throughout Illinois, including the phenomenally successful Pheasants Forever Young Guns group in Ford County and with the big NRA Youth Shooting Camp at Darnall’s Ranges in Bloomington.
Our signs continue to quietly and reliably proclaim our message for a couple hundred million people each year on Illinois (mostly) highways and interstates, continuing our educational mission.
The monthly general members meetings have been quite superlative of late, thanks in great measure to the outstanding speakers and attentive audiences. If you haven’t been coming out, you’ve been missing some of our best meetings ever.
And lastly, each member of our board of directors has worked hard, volunteering many hours doing the chores and legwork needed to keep a growing non-profit humming. Larry Shurbet in particular does yeoman’s work handling his treasurer’s duties as well as membership issues. I’m thankful beyond measure for their support and hard work each and every month.
Thanks for everything you do and I encourage your continued support and participation. We’ve got great things on tap for 2012 and look forward to meeting those challenges with continued growth and success – all thanks to you. Thanks again. You’ve earned it.